Melbourne chairman Matt Tripp confirmed he contacted club great Cameron Smith after the former ex-Storm skipper’s critical take of the club’s handling of the video scandal.
Cameron Munster, Brandon Smith and Chris Lewis will front up to the media next week after a video of their post-season celebrations was leaked on social media.
The trio are facing big fines from the NRL and will likely be ruled out for the start of next season.
Melbourne CEO Justin Rodski released a statement more than 24 hours after the video hit the internet, leading to criticism levelled at the club for not handling the matter properly.
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Smith told SEN Radio that his former club were too slow to address the issue and described their actions as “mind boggling”.
Tripp said he reached out to Smith after his radio interview and partly blamed the club’s belated response on the looming threat of a relocation of the NRL grand final.
“I spoke with ‘Smitty’ [Smith] last night, I cleared up a few things that he wasn’t aware of, and he’s more than comfortable with the way the club has handled it,” Tripp told the Sydney Morning Herald.
“We never wanted this to fester, it’s against the Melbourne Storm’s wishes and we would have had this nipped in the bud 24 hours after we became aware of it.
“But the NRL requested we deal with it in-sync with each other. We’re still waiting on their verdict and pushing hard to get a verdict. But they also made it known they have needed to make sure the grand final goes ahead because of the [COVID-19] scare up there.
“In terms of Smitty’s criticism of the players, it’s hard to disagree with him. We are disappointed. They are extremely apologetic. You will see on Tuesday how remorseful they are.
“It’s actually become about their welfare and we have to look after these boys. They’re upset because they know they made a bad choice and the ramifications are greater than they ever anticipated.
“There is zero tolerance at the club, we strive to be better than most, and we need to fix that.”
Smith expressed his annoyance with his former teammates for allowing “outsiders” to take video of them.
“These boys know the rules; it’s illegal in society and within the game of rugby league,” Smith said.
“I’d like to think they’re smarter than the way they’ve acted.
“To allow outsiders into a room and they’ve got phones out filming … it’s mind-boggling to see these guys make these poor choices.”
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